Soccer buff gives Kaneland kids winter workout

By on February 26, 2010

Elburn resident offers free skills coaching
ELBURN—When Brad Simmons of Sugar Grove offered Kaneland students ages 7 to 9 soccer lessons at no charge, parent Aaron Mayhan didn’t hesitate to sign up his son Casey, 8.

“I thought, what a great way for him to put the (Nintendo) DS down and the Wii on a Monday night and go enhance his soccer skills and have some fun—for free,” said Mayhan, of Elburn.

Casey is among about 20 youths taking part in the four-week program Simmons is conducting at Elburn & Countryside Community Center. Not only did Simmons volunteer his time to teach the children soccer skills, he paid the Community Center’s $180 fee to use the gym for the program on Mondays, Feb. 8 through March 1.

A 39-year-old banker, Simmons started playing at age 8 and went on to participate in competitive traveling teams. While studying business at Western Illinois University, he played pickup games whenever he had a chance.

“I just have a passion for the sport,” Simmons said.

Simmons decided to offer the free lessons to teach the youngest soccer players skills they haven’t learned and help them refine those they have.

He said soccer is an extremely physical game, and an excellent way for children to expend energy and stay in shape.

“You use every aspect of your body, and it requires a lot of feet and eye coordination,” Simmons said.

Unlike most sports including baseball, which have a lot of breaks in between action, soccer is “non-stop,” he said.

Mayhan is glad his son has a chance to take part in an active sports program during the winter. Casey plays baseball in spring and summer, and soccer in the fall.

“With the weather being the way it is, when kids can get some gym time in, it’s a great opportunity,” Mayhan said.

Simmons has coached for the Kaneland Youth Soccer Organization and Sugar Grove Park District youth soccer, and currently coaches for a traveling team outside the area. He distributed flyers at Kaneland elementary schools last month to let parents know about the program.

Simmons hopes the program boosts community support for soccer, with his long-term goal being to start up more local traveling teams in the Kaneland area.

Photo: Brad Simmons, of Sugar Grove, coached local 7- to 9-year-olds in soccer skills on Monday at the Elburn & Countryside Community Center. He rented the gym space for the free weekly program, to teach nearly 20 children. Simmons is a licensed coach who wants to enhance soccer programs locally. Photo by Martha Quetsch